Word of the Day: still

Word of the Day
August 12, 2016
still (adjective, adverb, verb, noun)
/stɪl/  sound icon
As an adjective, still means 'without moving,' 'silent or quiet,' and also 'calm and peaceful.' When referring to water, it means 'not flowing.' As a verb, still means 'to silence or calm something or someone' and also 'to reduce or lessen.' As a noun, still is a synonym for 'calmness,' and in photography, a still is a static photograph. As an adverb, still indicates that something that has begun in the past is continuing at the moment of speaking, that something that has happened in the past is likely to be repeated in the future, or that something that has been obtained or achieved is not considered sufficient.


Example sentences
The mouse kept very still, hoping the cat wouldn't see it.
Everyone was asleep and the whole house was still.
The lake was still with not even a ripple on its surface.
The horse was nervous, but the rider stilled him with a gentle pat on the neck.
John's reassurances stilled Ian's fears.
The still of the afternoon was broken by a loud bang.
It's 10 PM and I'm still working!
This government has achieved many things, but we must still do more.


Words often used with still
But still is a common expression that means even so and it is used when there is a contradiction. This can be used in the middle of the sentence or is sometimes used on its own. For example, "I love my husband, but still, I'm worried about my marriage." When used on its own, but still implies that there are still concerns, despite the previous sentence. So for this example, we could also say, "I love my husband. But still…." If you hear this, you can assume the speaker is worried about her husband, even though she doesn't say it explicitly.
Additional information
Still is also a conjunction that means 'but yet' or 'nevertheless.' Example: "With twenty minutes to go, the team knew they had lost the game; still they kept on playing to the end."
Did you know?
Still water is not carbonated. In the US and UK, this is what people drink most of the time, and if you ask for water, everyone will assume that you want still water. The opposite is sparkling water. Though it is very normal to drink sparkling water in many countries, in the US, many people are not used to drinking it and fewer people like it there than in Europe.
Other forms
stillness (noun)
Still dates back to before the year 900. The adjective and adverb were used in Middle English, still(e), and before then in Old English, stille. Its use as a noun first appeared in Middle English around the year 1200, meaning 'a calm,' and came from the adjective. Its meaning expanded to quietness around the year 1600. Of course, the meaning of 'a photograph' appeared much later, in 1916, after the invention of film made a distinction necessary in some cases. The verb probably also came from the adjective, but has been around just as long. The Old English stillan gave way to the Middle English styllen, leaving us with the version we use today. It is related to the German adjective still and verb stillen, as well as the Dutch adjective and adverb stil and verb stillen.
Still in other languages
Still was suggested by Rethabile MASILO from Lesotho
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